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Faculty Compensation Studies And Policies

UNM has worked for several years to ensure that it is meeting its commitment to the principle of comparable pay for comparable work for all of its employees, including women and under-represented groups. Any shortfall in predicted salaries on the basis of gender, race or ethnicity, no matter how small, is unacceptable and UNM will take all appropriate steps to remedy them. To help alleviate concerns about potential inequities or uncompetitive salaries at UNM, the Office of Academic Affairs conducted two studies of base salary compensation rates of Main campus faculty members with continuing appointments:

Study #1 – Internal Analysis of UNM’s FY2014/15 Compensation Rates to Ascertain Whether Faculty Receive Comparable Pay for Comparable Work (performed by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research)

Study #2 – External Comparison of UNM’s FY2015/16 Compensation Rates with those of 76 other Public Research Universities to Ascertain Whether Faculty Salaries Are Competitive—an important consideration in UNM’s ability to recruit and retain faculty (performed by the Office of Faculty Affairs and Services)

The full report of these studies can be found here. The report details the analytical methodology and results of the two studies; describes the method by which $600,000 was allocated to the various Schools and Colleges for compensation adjustments; and explains the terms under which the amount of individual faculty base salary adjustments were derived. Additional faculty demographic data and analysis, and background information on factors that affect compensation on Main campus are provided in addenda. A brief summary of the findings is provided below.

Study #1 showed:

In general, measures of gender equity have improved at UNM over the last ten years – women comprise greater portions of UNM’s full-time faculty, tenured faculty, and full professors than they did in 2004-2005.

Although average salaries of female and minority faculty are lower than those of their counterparts, the differences are largely due to factors other than gender, race or ethnicity, as controlled for in the study. Such factors include rank and field of study. Specifically:

  •  Male faculty members on Main campus are more likely than female faculty to have ranks of Full or Distinguished Professor (39% male vs. 22% female), reflecting a legacy of the 1980s and earlier. This trend has begun to reverse.
  •  White non-Hispanic faculty on Main campus are more likely to have positions in higher paying academic departments, such as engineering or business, whereas minority faculty are more likely to have positions in lower paying departments such as humanities.

Salary differences between females vs. males, and minorities vs. non-minorities are relatively small but vary substantially by rank:

  •  Holding constant factors such as rank and field of study, average salaries of female faculty members of any race are 0.7% (or, by separate analysis, $123) higher than white, non-Hispanic men.
  •  By the same measures, average salaries of minority male faculty members are 0.8% ($920) lower those of their white, non-Hispanic counterparts.

When continuing faculty including lecturers were analyzed at the level of UNM as a whole, women had salary levels that were 1.7% less than the salaries for white males of similar experience and disciplines.

When the professorial ranks excluding lecturers were analyzed at the level of UNM as a whole, women had salary levels that were 1.09% less than the salaries for white males of similar experience and disciplines.

Women and minorities’ salaries at UNM tend to become less competitive over time when compared to men and non-minorities as they move through the faculty ranks.

Study #2 showed:

30.2% of UNM tenured and tenure/track faculty are below the 25th percentile of the average of salaries at 76 other public research universities

55.3% of UNM tenured and tenure/track faculty are below the 50th percentile (median) of the average of salaries at 76 other public research universities; 44.7% of UNM tenured and tenure/track faculty are above 50th percentile (median)

It would take $1,947,571 to bring the FY16 salaries of the Main campus professoriate up to the 25th percentile

It would take $5,000,138 to bring the FY16 salaries of the Main campus professoriate up to the 50th percentile (median)

The process has created a transparent framework by which compensation rates can be informed by external market data and internal comparisons to ensure faculty receive competitive salaries and comparable pay for comparable work. This newly created process was used for the first time in making the allocations described in this report.

Provost Chaouki Abdallah allocated $600,000 of new recurring revenue to the Main Campus Colleges and Schools to put toward base salary compensation increases effective AY2016/2017 with the goal of closing these gaps. While this is the amount of revenue that was available, it is clearly insufficient to fully close all of the identified gaps.

A preliminary analysis of the impact of the allocations indicates that proportionately more of the $600,000 revenue went to women and minority faculty members, as was intended.

study table

Faculty Affairs will fully analyze the impact of the $600,000 allocation to determine its effectiveness in closing the identified gaps. Following the impact assessment, this report will be updated and released as a final project report.

These adjustments occurred in the context of a larger, ongoing effort to redesign the way in which faculty compensation is overseen and managed at UNM. This effort created a new data- and policy-driven framework by which compensation rates can be tracked, reported and analyzed for improvement to ensure UNM’s strategic compensation goals are fully realized. For example, Main campus will continue to use CUPA data in the future to inform salary offers at hire, and merit and retention adjustments in the future.

Future Initiatives

The compensation analyses significantly advanced our understanding of the effect of gender, race and ethnicity, rank and field of study on compensation rates, but it is important to acknowledge that these analyses are only a portion of the ongoing work that is needed and planned.

It will be essential to understand the root causes of why the salaries of women and minorities are more likely than white males to become less competitive over time. Is it because women and minorities seek promotion in rank at different rates than do non-minority men, as some have hypothesized? Does the fact that probationary faculty at UNM have equivalent compensation rates regardless of gender or ethnicity mean that this problem will self-correct over time, or will it take policy adjustments to close the gap completely?

Lecturer salaries require further review given the variability introduced when these salaries were included in the initial gender comparisons. The Office of Academic Affairs recently established minimum wages for Lecturers, which will help guide the further review of lecturer salaries.

An analysis of Branch campus faculty salaries for internal equity and market competitiveness is also in progress, with a targeted completion date of January 2017.

A review of current Main campus faculty compensation policies will occur in AY2016/17, guided by the faculty advisory committee and informed by the data obtained during the AY2015/16 compensation studies. The ultimate goals of this effort will be to ensure that UNM’s faculty compensation policies support equity and encourage and reward faculty productivity and innovation.

A key component of the ongoing work will include creation of analytical ‘compensation dashboards’ to more easily provide access to the newly established compensation data infrastructure for Chairs and Deans in order to better inform salary offers at hire, and merit, equity and retention adjustments in the future. The dashboard development is in progress with a targeted completion date of January 2017.

The Office of Academic Affairs will also continue to work with the senior leadership of UNM to seek additional recurring revenue to put toward identified gaps in faculty compensation.

This work will continue to be led by the Senior Vice Provost and will occur during AY2016/17.

Project Background and Timeline

  • Provost Abdallah issues Letter to Faculty Regarding EEOC (October 28, 2016) 
  • $600,000 of compensation increases are awarded to base salaries of 254 faculty; preliminary impact analysis begins (August 31, 2016)
  •  Final allocation guidelines are determined, and deans receive datasets to guide base salary adjustment recommendations (May 16, 2016)
  •  SVP Parker reports preliminary results to UNM Board of Regents Committee on Academic/ Student Affairs and Research (May 5, 2016)
  •  SVP Parker reports preliminary results of both studies to Deans Council March 10, 2016
  •  Bureau of Business and Economic Reporting (BBER) shares preliminary results (Study #1) with faculty advisory committee March 24, 2016
  •  SVP Parker discusses BBER study with Faculty Senate (January 26, 2016)
  •  Provost Abdallah issues Statement Regarding Gender Pay Equity at UNM (July 1, 2015)
  •  SVP Parker Presents project description to faculty and administration leadership (June 11, 2015) 
  •  SVP Parker Presentation about the project to the UNM Board of Regents Committee on Academic/Student Affairs and Research (June 4, 2015 Tab D)
  •  UNM Newsroom Report, Academic Affairs to study faculty compensation (June 4, 2015) 

Previous Compensation Studies at UNM

UNM has worked for several years to ensure that it is meeting its commitment to the principle of comparable pay for comparable work for all of its employees, including women and under-represented groups.

2007 An Equity Analysis Report of UNM faculty compensation rates was conducted by then Provost Reed Dassenbrock. After controlling for productivity and department affiliation, some small unexplained gaps remained. Efforts to eliminate unexplained gaps commenced but were slowed by revenue shortfalls and rescissions due to the Great Recession.

2011-2013 As the revenue picture stabilized, adjustment efforts were renewed by current Provost Chaouki Abdallah. In 2011 a study of potential salary inequities and/or compression was initiated by Academic Affairs. Schools and departments were asked to identify faculty whose salaries reflected compression or inversion by rank. Academic Affairs reviewed adjustment recommendations and made compensation adjustments effective FY2013. An appeal process was provided, overseen by a faculty committee and the Associate Provost for Academic Personnel, who made a second round of adjustments effective FY2014. The 3-year process resulted in allocating nearly $2 million in new recurring revenue for salary adjustments, with a particular emphasis on targeting potential gender or ethnicity inequities.
Total Revenue Allocated for Main Campus Faculty Compensation Increases FY13 through FY16

The chart below shows the new recurring revenue allocated by Academic Affairs for Main campus faculty base salary increases during the past four fiscal years. $2,097,632 has been allocated for addressing equity, compaction and retention concerns. In addition, another $4,747,397 was made available for merit increases on campus wide. The total allocated across all categories during this four-year period is $6,845,029.

study graph

*FY16 breakdown between equity, compaction and retention is still being calculated.

Background Reading

Haignere, Lois. Paychecks: A Guide to Conducting Salary-Equity Studies for Higher Education Faculty (AAUP 2002)
Diamond. Jed and Moore, Sarah. Identifying and Addressing Faculty Salary Inequity, Custom Research Brief (EAB, July 2012) [UNM faculty and staff may establish a password to access licensed EAB content]